'Don't overlook this': British Gas engineer's nine 'simple' ways to slash energy bills

Joanna Flowers with British Gas van

‘Don’t overlook this’: British Gas engineer shares 9 ‘simple’ ways to slash energy bills (Image: British Gas)

Britons could shave hundreds of pounds off their this winter with a few “simple” checks, an expert has said.

 new energy price cap will take effect on October 1, reducing the annual energy bill for an average household using both gas and electricity from £2,074 to £1,923.

While this represents a potential  of around £151 a year, there are ways to boost this figure even further.

Joanna Flowers, a service and repair engineer at British Gas said: “Colder weather is coming, which means as well as checking your heating system is in good working order, it’s time to take steps to maximise the energy efficiency of your home.

“There are lots of simple things you can do around the house to keep everything working without using more energy than you need.”

Woman fixing and bleeding air from radiator

Bleeding radiators every year can help improve efficiency (Image: Getty)

Ms Flowers added: “Only do what you’re comfortable with and contact a qualified engineer if you need help. At every appointment, we provide energy efficiency advice to help our customers save on their bills whilst ensuring things are working properly.”

Bleed radiators

Air can enter the system and form bubbles at the top of the radiators, which stops them from working efficiently. A less efficient heating system means more energy is required to warm up the home.

To fix this, Ms Flowers said: “If you notice cold spots at the top of your radiators, switch them off and after they cool, turn a radiator key in the valve at the top to let the air out.”

Shut out the cold

Unnecessary heat loss is one of the key contributors to higher energy bills – so fixing this should be a top priority. With poor insulation accounting for around 30 to 45 percent heat loss in the home, it would be worth checking this.

Close Up Of Hand On Central Heating Thermostat

Turning down a thermostat by one degree can save over £100 a year (Image: Getty)

Ms Flowers said: “Draught excluders are available from most DIY stores, and they’re an easy and affordable way to draught-proof your home.”

As well as sealing the joins around doors and windows, Ms Flowers urged: “Don’t overlook extra measures like letterbox brushes, chimney balloons and even keyhole coverings.”

Check thermostat settings

According to Ms Flowers, adjusting the main room thermostat to a range of 18C to 21C could result in a 10 percent reduction in heating bills, saving an average of £115 per year by lowering it by one degree.

Turn off radiators in rooms not in use

It’s important not to spend money heating spare rooms or other rooms not in use during the winter, so if a room isn’t going to be used, Ms Flowers stressed the importance of switching off that radiator. She said: “Make sure you turn the radiator off and close the door to stop cold air circulating through the rest of the house.”

Wrap the pipes up

Ms Flowers said: “We often come across frozen condensate pipes – which can burst or crack when the water inside turns to ice.”

According to Ms Flowers, the best solution is to stop the water inside the pipes from freezing in the first place. She said: “Insulating materials are an easy, cost-effective solution, available from most DIY stores – it will ensure the pipes don’t lose heat saving an average of £15 on your bills and preventing any costly repairs.”

Look after the boiler

Ms Flowers said: “It’s a good idea to run your central heating for at least an hour a day during the colder months – even if you’re going away – to make sure it keeps running smoothly. Check out the boiler manual to find out how to set the timer.”

Furnish for warmth

To ensure radiators are doing their job most efficiently, it’s important to arrange furniture in areas that aren’t blocking them.

Ms Flowers said: “Putting your sofa in front of a radiator will absorb heat that could be warming the rest of the room. Curtains and rugs have an important part to play as well because thick material prevents heat from being lost through windows and doors – just don’t forget to open your curtains during the day so that the sun can do some of the work.”

Be energy smart

Unsurprisingly, winter is the peak season for energy usage and making the most of technology, such as smart thermostats, means people can control their heating on the go and avoid wasting money on energy.

Door draught excluder

Use draught excluders: Unnecessary heat loss is one of the key contributors to higher energy bills (Image: Getty)

Ms Flowers said: “If you’re stuck at work or delayed on the way home, you can use your smartphone to stop the heating from coming on too early and warming up an empty house. Our Hive Active Heating customers save around £311 on average.”

Get the help you’re entitled to

Finally, it’s always worth people finding out if they’re eligible for extra assistance with energy bills, especially before the cold weather sets in.

Ms Flowers said: “Face-to-face advice, financial support and grants up to £1,500 are available from the British Gas Energy Trust (even if you’re not a British Gas customer). Most suppliers also offer assistance funds to provide grants towards energy costs.”

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